I visited Henry Cowell State Park today for the first time. I went with some friends. We parked somewhere along highway 9 and moved fast towards the San Lorenzo river. By the time we reached the water we’d already gone on a few sketchy trails and we were gonna go on more questionable trails along the river towards The Garden Of Eden. A few of us didn’t feel comfortable going that way so we all turned back the way we came then followed the train tracks to the swimming hole. There were a few people there, including an annoying group playing music really loud on their portable speaker. We hung out for a little while before following the train tracks some more then heading back to our cars. The maps I brought, and my phone’s gps, weren’t very helpful because we didn’t enter through any of the designated entrances and there weren’t any trail markers anywhere. I still had fun but next time I’ll come better prepared and take my time and really enjoy it.
The plan was to go on a short hike at Grant Park today because I’m going to Henry Cowell State Park tomorrow morning and don’t want to over do it but when I arrived at Grant I just wanted to hike as many new trails as I could in the 3 hours before sunset and did 6.35 miles. When I got home later I started researching the hike to the Garden of Eden at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Apparently there’s a route from the main entrance that crosses the San Lorenzo River but the seasonal bridge might not be up so it might require going across the water. There’s also another route that avoids crossing the river by parking at a different location and taking a different trail. I’m going with friends so I’ll let them decide what to do.
The HDMI switch I ordered arrived yesterday and I hooked it up tonight to make sure it works, and it does! It’s got 3 HDMI inputs and one HDMI out plus one 3.5mm audio output to connect speakers. Now I can use my spare monitor, with a single HDMI por, to connect a Roku Streaming Stick for movies & TV, my Raspberry Pi computer running Retropie to play old school video games, and use it as the viewfinder on my DSLR camera when I record myself drawing. Now I gotta figure out how to neatly mount everything so it’s not on top of the desk but on the rig instead.
...with the EMN Layla-Mae & Phoenix project. I printed them out on adhesive vinyl sheets and cut them to size tonight. The blue fill on Phoenix’s stickers didn’t come out as clean as the green fill on Layla’s which I’m not happy about. It’s something to do with the vinyl sheets. All I gotta do now is find an envelope to ship them out.
I finished editing the Hail Santa video tonight. I ran into some issues and learned a few things while working on it. First off, the DSLR camera (overhead) stopped recording and I had to start it up again. There was a notice on the display saying it stopped recording. Luckily I caught it after a few seconds. After Googling it, I learned that I need a faster SD card. My current card is too slow and can't keep up with the camera as it records video. The other option was to record at a lower resolution but I ordered a new card instead. After importing the DSLR and iPhone footage (side angle) into iMovie I learned the two videos didn't sync up. It took me a while to figure out that one video was slightly faster than the other. That shouldn't happen. My guess is that the slow SD card is the culprit. After doing my best to sync the two videos and cutting the hell out of it, I sped up the video from 18 minutes down to 40 seconds. I want to keep my videos short since most people on social media have little or no attention spans. But after speeding it up I realized the quick cuts don't look good at such high speed. I might export a version that's a little longer so the edits aren't as jarring. Either way, next time I edit, I need to mindful of the original video length and how much I need to speed it up.
I’ve been making edits to the EMN Layla-Mae & Phoenix artwork based on the notes I scribbled after printing them out a couple times now. Some details were too small or busy and had to be made bigger and more defined. I’ve also been going around erasing a bunch of thin slivers which are partially erased brush strokes. They’re so thin they’re practically invisible on screen but on paper they print out as black marks and they’re all over the artwork. Going forward, I gotta be better about drawing & erasing so I don’t have to comb thru the whole image at the highest zoom setting looking for tiny blemishes that can ruin a print.
I started experimenting with multiple camera angles tonight. I used my DSLR, iPhone and a GoPro to record myself drawing. The first thing I realized after finishing was that I forgot to turn on my fill light. After importing the footage from all 3 cameras to my laptop I soon learned that iMovie only lets you work with two video tracks. I scrapped the GoPro footage and went with the iPhone and DSLR recordings. After messing around with the iMovie I put together the video below.
I had a great Saturday evening full of love, warmth, care & respect, to say the least, and I’m very thankful for everyone & everything that made this evening possible!
I recorded myself doing a quick drawing using a GoPro Hero 3+ that I'm borrowing from a friend. I'm still waiting on parts to mount my DSLR overhead so I figured I'd test a different camera while I wait. The GoPro has three Fields of View and I used Narrow in this video because I didn't want to distort the image. The downfall is that I can't fit the entire page on the screen. After recording myself draw I edited the video in iMovie to speed it up (from 10 minutes to 30 seconds) and added some transitions, titles, & stock music.
The rig is slowly coming together. The big stand made of metal pipe is to mount my camera onto. I got a DSLR camera that I bought years ago, and never used, that I want to use that to record myself drawing from overhead. I bought a clamp-on arm but the camera is too heavy. I’m either gonna return the clamp or use it with the GoPro I’m borrowing or my cellphone and maybe shoot from multiple angles. I also got some new light fixtures and bulbs. Next, I still gotta figure out a solution to securely mount my big camera to the stand, learn how to use the camera, and hang a 4’ fluorescent light fixture above the desk for more light. In the end I just wanna record fun videos and upload them online.
These past few days I've been trying to come up with a solution for recording myself draw. I have a DSLR camera that I want to record with but need to mount it on over my desk. I'm leaning towards building rig from steel pipe and buying new lights. Tonight I did trial recording using my phone and gooseneck phone mount clamped to my desk. My phone ran out of storage before I finished my drawing but I got a much better idea of what I want to accomplish.
I spent most of the day fixing images I created in Adobe Fresco, on my iPad, then converted to printable formats on my computer. First were these 6 drawings of mine. My brother is going to get them printed and framed. I think they were in RGB format on the iPad then became dull when I converted them to CMYK on the laptop. It took me hours to figure out the best way to select the individual colors within the images, based on how I drew it, and finding approximate color matches. The next problem was when I exported a PDF from Illustrator that I originally drew in Fresco. In the PDF I there were thin lines around every brush stroke that wasn't showing up anywhere else before. My buddy Adam needed the artwork I made for his band's album, "Elysian," minus a the background, to put it on merch. He requested a PDF and I thought it was going to be as simple as one-click. Now I'm reading a 31 page guide trying to understand transparencies because I think that's what's causing the issue. I sent Adam some hi-res JPGs, hoping that they'll work for him, until I figure out how to fix this. I thought computers were supposed to make things easier for us.
I bought this book a couple months ago. I had recently learned about House Industries via designer, Aaron Draplin, and I really liked their work. I also have a tough time with lettering and I feel it's not as strong as it could be. After picking it up I only read a couple dozen pages then set it aside for weeks. Today, after feeling guilty from streaming a bunch of TV & movies and only reading comics, I picked up the book and put a nice dent in the number of pages.
...but I roasted the fuck outta some garlic tonight! It took longer to peel 4 bulbs of garlic than it took to time bake them. I only added olive oil, salt, pepper and seasoning and it came out pretty damn good for my first time. I also baked some biscuits (from a can) and spread the garlic on there like butter.
I made a little progress on this job today after receiving notes from the client. One of the changes requires a bit more tooling than I expected but I'll figure it out tomorrow before sending it off again.
I picked up another small graphic design job today! I met with my buddy, Adam, (socially distant, outdoors and with masks on) to discuss redesigning his bands logo. We talked about what he and his bandmates have been through over the years and their plans to release their first LP. I also talked about how I've been considering doing more graphic design work for clients now that Covid has taken away my DJ & vending gigs. His band logo, and the other design I've been working on, are good first jobs to help me get my feet wet doing freelance work, which has never been appealing to me before.
But I made a little bit of progress on the store. FYI: the website I'm working on is not FRANKIEMCFLY.COM. It's a dummy site that I'm learning to use before moving my domain name over.
Wordpress is confusing as fuck but I made a little bit of progress. Tonight I played around with Themes, created some pages and played around with menu. There's still so much more to do before I can make it live.
I tried using a Weebly to Wordpress exporter to move my blog but got the error message below. The Wordpress dashboard shows that my old blog posts came over but the images did not.
It's been a pretty busy week at home so far. Not so much much with art but with other projects. Tonight I rearranged & saved my workspace on Adobe Illustrator to match designer Aaron Draplin's workspace, as shown on one of his Skillshare videos. His course, "Design Like Draplin: 21 Tips for speedingUp Your Design Workflow," is what motivated to buy a larger external monitor. I've been using my 15" Macbook for years and never realized how cramped and cluttered my workspace was till I watched his course.
My new monitor arrived today! Finally, I have more room to play with when using Adobe apps. I can even rotate it 90 degrees and fit my whole homepage on it. Weebly also sent me an eviction notice today. My website is still up and running as of now. I paid for a year of web hosting with a new host and installed Wordpress. Hopefully I can transfer my old blog posts over before Weebly shuts it down. Otherwise I'm gonna have to pay for an extra month just to copy it over.
Messages have started showing up when I log onto Weebly asking me to pay for a plan or to remove some features from my site. I didn't renew Weebly's Business Plan when it expired last week. I thought they were going to close my site but it's still up and running. I can still post to my blog and I think as long as I don't edit the site and click Publish, I can keep using it as-is. I want to learn & switch to a Wordpress site, so now that I got the time, I've decided to watch tutorials and get educated. It seems complicated at first but looks easier once it's up and running. First things first, find a web host and pay for a hosting plan, so I'm figuring out how to go about that.
Today I bought a one-year subscription to Skillshare Premium. Skillshare.com is website with a bunch of online courses on all a bunch of different subjects. I heard about it when one of my favorite graphic designers, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co., shared on his Instagram (@draplin) that he released a new course. He's taught 6 of them. Tonight I watched his 2-hour course on improving your Adobe Illustrator workflow and it alone is worth the $59 I paid for the whole year.